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News Release

February 22, 2014
For immediate release

Government of Canada launches The Play Exchange, Canada’s Active Living Challenge

Fact Sheet: The Play Exchange, Canada’s Active Living Challenge

Ottawa, Ontario - Preventing chronic illnesses, like type 2 diabetes and heart disease, is one of the public health challenges of our times. How do we get more Canadians active? What can we do to encourage children and youth to spend less time on the couch? When it comes to encouraging physical activity, we’re all in this together.

The Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health,
drops the puck on February 22, 2014 to launch
the start of The Play Exchange, an active living
that will ask Canadians to submit their
ideas of how we can be more active.

Today, Minister Ambrose and partners are launching, The Play Exchange, a first of its kind partnership that will ask Canadians to submit their ideas of how we can be more active.

The Play Exchange will select Canadian judges, who will review all submissions and pick the top ideas. Business and Community leaders will work with the “innovators” to help develop their ideas and project proposals.

These top ideas will be showcased on national television in January 2015 when Canadians from across the country will have the chance to vote for what they think is the best idea. The winner will receive up to $1 million to launch their project.

Quick Facts

  • Children who are overweight or obese are at high risk for serious childhood diseases like pre-diabetes, asthma, joint problems, and liver disease. They have an 80 per cent chance of becoming obese adults, and may show heart disease as early as age 25.
  • Only 4 percent of Canadian children are getting the recommended amount of daily physical activity.
  • Three in five adult Canadians are living with a chronic illness such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and some types of cancer.
  • One in four adults in Canada is overweight or obese and a third of all children and youth are already overweight or obese.
  • The economic costs of obesity are estimated at $4.6 billion in 2008, based on costs associated with the eight chronic diseases most consistently linked to obesity.
  • It is time to get Canadians to be more active. Time to get creative, time for The Play Exchange.
  • The Play Exchange will accept applications until June 18th, 2014, the winning idea will be judged and voted on and announced in January 2015.
  • Please visit The Play Exchange websiteExternal Link, for more information and updates.


Children play street hockey as Minister Rona
Ambrose launches the The Play Exchange, an
active living challenge
in partnership with
Canadian Tire and LIFT Philanthropy Partners.

The Play Exchange is the first of its kind in Canada, harnessing our country’s innovative spirit and capitalizing on the momentum we already have in our country to encourage children and youth and all Canadians to be more active. We want to hear directly from Canadians on how best to make Canada healthier. I encourage everyone to participate in this unique initiative and look forward to supporting the winning idea with up to $1 million to implement their innovation.”

The Honourable Rona Ambrose
Minister of Health

“Our Government is committed to promoting healthy living and healthy weights, and preventing chronic disease for all Canadians. Together with our partners in the not for profit and private sector, we are proud to launch this exciting new initiative, which we hope will engage Canadians of all ages in finding creative and healthy ways to become more active.”

The Honourable Bal Gosal
Minister of State (Sport). Bramalea-Gore-Malton (Ontario)

“We are passionate about sport and encouraging play because both are an important part of a healthy community, strong families, and a strong country. The Play Exchange is a great complement to Canadian Tire’s community involvement including We All Play for Canada, Jumpstart, which helps families afford to put their kids in organized sport and recreation, and Active At School. We are excited to support an innovative program where Canadians from coast-to-coast can bring forward their ideas to get our country moving.”

Allan MacDonald, President
Canadian Tire Retail

“By bringing partners from the public, private and non-profit sectors together, The Play Exchange is changing the way we improve healthy, active living in Canada. Through this challenge, we are empowering Canadians to play an integral role in our country’s health and prosperity. We believe The Play Exchange will spark a national conversation on the important role individuals can play in finding effective and innovative solutions for a healthier Canada.”

Bruce Dewar
Chief Executive Officer LIFT Philanthropy Partners

Related Products

The Play Exchange – Fact Sheet

Associated Links

For more information visit about The Play Exchange websiteExternal Link.


Michael Bolkenius
Office of the Honourable Rona Ambrose
Federal Minister of Health
(613) 957-0200

Media Relations
Public Health Agency of Canada
(613) 957-2983